Helmeted honeyeater facts for kids
|Species:||L. melanops cassidix|
The Helmeted honeyeater, Lichenostomus melanops cassidix, is an endangered species of bird. It is the only species of bird found only in Victoria, Australia. The Helmeted honeyeater became the state of Victoria's official bird emblem in 1971.
Famous ornithologist, John Gould first described the bird as being a separate species, which he named Ptilotis cassidix in 1867. It now one of the three sub-species of the Yellow-tufted honeyeater, Lichenostomus melanops. The other sub species are not endangered.
Where the bird lives
This bird is only found in a five km long patch of forest along two streams in the Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve, 50 km east of Melbourne. A reserve was set up in the Bunyip State Park for releasing birds raised in captivity. In 2003 there were 103 individuals in the wild with 20 breeding pairs known as well as a further 34 birds in captivity at the Healesville Sanctuary. The 2009 Victorian bushfires burnt to within 200 metres of bird colony at Bunyip State Park. Captive birds had to be moved to the Melbourne Zoo when the fires also came close to the Healesville Sanctuary. However, on April 28, 2009, 13 birds bred in captivity were released back into the wild. The number of wild birds is now believed to be 113.
Before the captive breeding program was started there were only about 50—60 birds left in the wild. The birds have been bred at Healesville and at Sydney's Taronga Park Zoo.
What they eat
Helmeted honeyeaters eat manna, which is like a sap from some eucalyptus trees. They also eat nectar from the eucalypt flowers as well as small insects and spiders.
Saving the Helmeted honeyeater
Several things are being done to save this bird from becoming extinct. One is a captive breeding program, where the birds are bred at Healesville and Toronga Park. When they become old enough, between 6—8 months, the are put into the wild where they will hopefully begin breeding. Forest areas are being planted with the right sort of trees and plants to provide the birds with food and shelter. This is being done on private land as well as in the State parks. There is also planting to join the small patches of bush with corridors so the birds are not trapped in one small area.
Helmeted honeyeater Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.